TikTok burst onto the social media scene in August 2018. Less than two years later, the video-sharing app has seen more than 2 billion global downloads. TikTok is a unique platform that demands a new approach from marketers hoping to capitalize on its massive audience.
Ironically, the brands struggling to master marketing on TikTok generally have found social media marketing success on platforms like Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram. But just because a marketing strategy works on one platform doesn’t mean it will translate to another. Specifically, repurposing your Instagram content for TikTok influencer campaigns would be a huge mistake.
How the TikTok Algorithm Works
Influencer marketing success on TikTok is all about the platform’s unique algorithm. The For You page accounts for individual user preferences, with the algorithm considering each user’s in-app habits and then recommending content accordingly. For example, the app might log that a user watches certain videos all the way through, indicating a strong preference for that kind of content.
The For You page serves content even when a user is brand new to the platform. Their earliest likes and clicks will play a major role in generating the recommended content they see. Brands that establish an early rapport with users are unlocking potentially valuable relationships.
To use TikTok to its full potential as an influencer marketing tool, make sure you’re following these three rules when creating and sharing your influencer campaigns:
1. Track and analyze performance.
The need for brands to track and understand the performance of influencer marketing campaigns might seem obvious, but this isn’t always the case. Some agencies will give influencers a unique coupon code, but that only tracks the final conversions. Instead, we offer each influencer a unique tracking link that monitors everything from the number of clicks generated to the number of free trial sign-ups to the number of eventual paying customers.
Rather than designating an entire campaign as pass/fail, we’re able to do an in-depth analysis to see what worked well and what has room for improvement. Continually learning from past experiences is the key to a long-term strategy and understanding how to use data in marketing.
2. Obtain a healthy sample size.
Most campaign managers or agencies run a campaign with an average of five influencers and then deem it a success or a failure. Unfortunately, five is far from statistically significant — it doesn’t show any meaningful, representative potential. A five-day trip to Florida during a severe hurricane season might make you wonder why anyone lives there, but spending more than five days in the Sunshine State could tell a completely different story. Don’t give up on your TikTok marketing campaign until you’ve put in some time and worked with a sufficient number of influencers.
3. Optimize and reiterate.
Using data in marketing is an ongoing process, and you should not expect to see immediate success. Influencer marketing on TikTok demands discipline, and only a consistent approach to testing and analysis can yield the groundbreaking results you want and need. If you can’t dedicate the necessary time to your strategy, it’s worth having a data-driven professional sift through your campaigns to choose what to nix and what to keep to help you scale toward success.
It sometimes feels like social media apps are a dime a dozen, but TikTok’s rise has outpaced the growth of its predecessors. Consequently, the brands that master influencer marketing on TikTok today will set themselves up to master marketing in the days to come.
Sheryl Teo is the founder of Popcorn Growth, an influencer marketing agency that uses an analytical approach to give companies the ability to execute data-driven influencer campaigns at 10 times the typical scale and speed. Sheryl spent years working as a portfolio manager at JP Morgan, where she doubled her portfolio in just two years. She then went on to found Bisou Natural and scaled its influencer program to 1,000 influencers in just six months.
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